Okanagan-Shuswap Housing Market Builds Momentum Over Summer
Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported August sales activity of all MLS® property types improved by 23% compared to the same month in 2013 with buyer activity building significant momentum over the summer.
“Year-over-year and month-over-month, the Okanagan-Shuswap housing market continues to strengthen and has maintained a strong upward sales trend for the past six months as we make steady strides toward recovery,” says Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the North Okanagan. “More buyer activity in the higher price range reflects the renewed confidence of BC consumers as our provincial economy improves and the return of Alberta buyers as they cash in on booming job opportunities and accelerated market values in their province.”
The Shuswap leads the way this month with a 34% improvement in overall sales over August 2013, compared to 23% in the Central Okanagan, and 15% in the North Okanagan. The Shuswap Zone also saw a 28% rise in single family residential sales, compared to 19% in the North Okanagan and 14% in the Central Okanagan.
Conditions in the Central Okanagan are now in sellers’ market territory with more demand than supply in some areas – especially in homes priced below $400,000 where inventory is short – and a buyers’ market in the higher price category. On the other hand, the North Okanagan remains a stable market for both buyers and sellers, while the best value for buyers is in the Shuswap where there is more supply than demand and prices remain relatively low.
New listings have fallen during five of the last six months with total inventory in the Board area down 11% compared to August 2013, resulting in levels similar to those last seen in 2008 when active listings were particularly tight.
“The selection of entry level home choices has been significantly reduced with the drop in listings, so buyers are viewing properties in a higher price range to find better selection. With strong prices, high demand and low inventory, if you are looking to sell, now is the time to do it before winter sets in,” Griffiths notes. “However, there are still tremendous opportunities for buyers to get into the market with the price of single family homes fairly stable in most areas, and mortgage rates still at historic lows.”
While a significant increase in purchases of higher priced homes – due in part to the return of Alberta buyers, especially those who choose to live here and work in Alberta with the aid of new direct flights to the oil patch -- has skewed the average price of units sold during August and the past few months, this does not equate to a noticeable increase in the price of single family homes. Pricing has remained stable with relatively modest gains seen in some locations, especially at the entry level where inventory is scarce.
In order to fully understand the overall picture of the current residential market in our Board area, it is important to look at prices within property types and sale price trends within different price points. Sales activity within OMREB’s three diverse market areas tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone and month-by-month with ups and downs at different times and locations.
The competition for buyers can still be a challenge for sellers if their properties are not priced well,” Griffiths warns. “Being realistic about the market value of your home, setting an attractive list price right out of the gate, and being willing to negotiate for the best offer are the keys to a successful sale. Now more than ever, it is important to consult with a professional REALTOR®. ”
Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke): Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during August improved by 22.6% compared to 2013 -- to 879 units from 717. Total residential sales for the month rose 30.9% to 800 units board-wide compared to 647 last August.
The 1,360 new listings taken board-wide for the month were down marginally (0.5%) compared to the 1,367 listings posted in August 2013, while inventory (active listings) declined 11.0% over this time last year – to 7,795 from 8,760
Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country): During August, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 23.4% -- to 548 units from 444 in 2013. Total residential sales for the month improved 23.8% to 504 units compared to 407 last year at this time. The sale of 238 single family homes was up 14.4% over August 2013 (208).
The 825 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a 3.9% drop compared to 858 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 15.8% to 3,822 units from 4,540 last August.
North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby): Overall sales for August in the North Zone improved 14.9% to 208 units compared to 181 units sold last year at this time. Total residential sales for the month were up 15.2% over last year with 190 units sold compared to 165. Single family home sales (110 units) were up 25.0% compared to August 2013 (88).
While the 339 new listings taken for the month were up 13.4% from the 2013 level of 299, inventory for August saw a 7.2% decline to 2,251 from 2,428 last year at this time.
Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke): During August, overall unit sales in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone improved by 33.7% to 123 units compared to 92 in 2013. Total residential unit sales for the month were up 41.3% over last year at 106 units compared to 75, while the sale of single family homes rose 27.5% over August 2013 (to 51 from 40)
New listings taken in the Zone were down 6.3% compared to last August to 195 units from 208. Overall inventory dipped 3.8% to 1,715 from 1,783 during the same month in 2013.